Defect dynamics of the 2D confined active nematic liquid crystals

Note: Held in CILSE 809
Speaker: Achini Opathalage, Dogic Lab, Brandeis University

When: May 18, 2017 (Thu), 11:00AM to 12:00PM (add to my calendar)

This event is part of the Biophysics Seminars.

Boundaries modify active matter in ways that have no counterpart in equilibrium materials. Presently there is no universal theory in active matter to account for boundaries, making it essential to proceed experimentally with a well-controlled system. In this talk I will talk about the role of boundary conditions on a simplified experimental model of biological active matter system composed of extensile filamentous bundles of microtubules driven by clusters of kinesin motors. These bundles form a dense quasi-2D active nematic liquid crystals when sediment onto a surfactant-stabilized oil-water interface. When this system is further confined onto different boundary conditions, imposing total topological charge, unique dynamical behavior can be observed under high circular confinement, in the order of hundred micrometers. The experimental results illustrate how this system can serve as a platform for testing theoretical models of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and potentially aid in understanding self-organization processes in living biological systems.